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By Sarah Harder

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

 

1. In a food processor, finely grind 3 cups sliced blanched almonds. (I substitute pecans in this recipe. Pecans are softer and grind up a little better than the almonds – that would be because I was using whole almonds instead of blanched. Almond meal works really well, but it costs way too much. I tried that too.)

 

2. Add 2/3 cup sugar (or substitute Xylitol), and ¼ tsp salt. Pulse until blended.

 

3. Add 2 large egg whites and ½ tsp. vanilla extract. (I use whole eggs since I’m not concerned about keeping the color white – I already substituted pecans.) Pulse all ingredients until a ball forms.

 

4. With wet hands, shape level teaspoons of dough into little balls (dough will be very sticky). Place on parchment–lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Use a moistened finger to make a slight indentation in each cookie. Bake 13 to 20 minutes depending on your sweetener, until crackly and slightly browned.

 

5. Cool 5 minutes and then transfer to rack. This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

 

6. Jam Filling. Warm ¼ cup apricot jam or jam of your choice, over low heat until slightly liquefied and easy to spoon. Spoon jam into indentations in the cookies. Let set, about 5 minutes.

 

Note from the cook, Sarah Harder: Xylitol

 

Since some folks are also asking for sugar free I have begun using Xylitol as a sweetener. (You can see where none of the ingredients in a recipe apply to what I’m baking!) Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance found in many fruits and vegetables. It has a sweet taste similar to sucrose, but has 33% fewer calories than an equivalent amount of sugar.

 

Xylitol can be substituted cup for cup in recipes to replace granulated sugar. Experimentation has shown me that Xylitol browns faster than sugar when baking. The baking results are similar to honey. Xylitol is a very expensive ingredient in baking. I was getting a better price on Amazon.com. but during Christmas the supply dried up for a while. There I’ve found it in bulk for $5.00 to $6.00 per pound.